Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Rational Response Squad makes Nightline

Check it out, there was a piece on the Rational Response Squad on Nightline. (Rational Response Squad's home page.)

I don't know that I feel the hostility from Christians in my every-day life so much, because I don't challenge them openly that often. The very few times I've said to my friends "you know, I just don't believe in that any more," I generally get that they don't either, but some of them keep going to church either because they go with their family, out of habit, or perhaps out of the expectation that one day they'll feel something. But none of my friends/family are such that they would cut me out of their lives because of my beliefs.

And I'm just a tad afraid to confront strangers. As the guy from the Rational Response Squad says; they get death threats! I don't think atheism is worth dying for. Religion is the type of thing people die for, but since I don't believe in an after-life, I want to make the most of the life I have here. If arguing with one single person would threaten my life, I think I'd back off... I know what I believe in my mind, and nobody can change that.

I'm also not really sure why other people would take personal offense with what I might do with my "everlasting" soul.

I like my car too much to put stickers on it, I spend my money on better things than t-shirts about atheism, and I don't go out of my way looking for converts. Should I? I almost feel compelled to share my views, but then I think; isn't that a little like witnessing? And isn't that part what I'm against?

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

The Bananna: The Fundamentalist Christian's Nightmare

Yea, I said it before; the banana isn't an ideal fruit made by god; it's been selected and cultivated by man and without man's intervention, it would disappear off the face of the earth because bananas don't produce seeds; they're all clones.

Anyhow, there's new news that within 10 years, either we won't have any bananas or they will be very different from the bananas we now eat. This already happened once within the last century when the Gros Michel went extinct due to fungus and the Cavendish was introduced as a fungus-resistant variety, but the Cavendish is now under threat from the same fungus. For those Fundies who don't believe in evolution, here's a fungus that has adapted and evolved in less than 100 years to now threaten another species of banana. It is becoming resistant to the fungicides. It is only through more intervention by man that the banana might live, the banana must be genetically modified to resist the fungus, either GM in the lab, or GM by selective breeding of the few seeds that can be found.

Monday, January 29, 2007

I've often thought that the Sunni/Shia differences in Muslims were probably not unlike the difference between Presbyterians and Methodists, or Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy, none of which I fully understand.

And so, while I don't fully understand the differences in Christianity, which is familiar to me, understanding the differences in Islam seems far beyond my reach.

But here is a simplified explanation to the schism between Sunni and Shia, for others who might be curious. This kind of religious intolerance, spread over 1400 years, is almost unfathomable to me! People kill each other over this? And dying for such ideas is a matter of pride? I don't get it... I really don't.

Does anyone know if there's a word for anti-religious? Since atheist means that one doesn't have a belief in god, is there a word for those of us who think that "organized" religion is, er, crazy? If not, can we make up a word?

The definition I'm looking for a word for is approximately: one who thinks that organized religion is more about controle of the masses than spiritual enlightenment, and therefore rejects any religious dogma instead favoring a personal moral code.

I don't remember if I linked this before, but it's still good.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Funny clip..... not much else today.

Google video doesn't like me, so you'll have to follow the link.

War On Everything: Funny Christian Part

Two English guys busting on what seems to be southern-U.S. Christian TV. It's quite funny.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

The Super Bowl is coming up, but did you jinx your team?

I had an ex-boyfriend who decided that I wasn't allowed to attend the local Pro-Hockey games any more. Every time I went, they lost. He was dead serious about this too. Needless to say, we had other issues and the relationship didn't last. Since then I have been to several more Hockey games, Hockey being my favorite sport, and I can't recall the home team winning once when I've gone. So there's a teeny-bit of me that does wonder, is it me?

There's a NY Times article on such superstitions, who has them, when we acquire them, and how they can be good for us.

I think an aspect that this article ignores is inconsistent reward. Superstitions can arise even when they aren't consistently rewarded. B.F. Skinner famously studied this, and has been studied since, revealing that, while consistent reward yields more consistent behavior, superstitions persist when reward is inconsistent. Gambling is often used as an example of this phenomenon in humans, many have ritual numbers, seats, trinkets, or motions while gambling.

I have no doubt that prayer works the same way. Many people are convinced it works based on their preference for memories of times when prayer worked. While most of us know our ritualized behaviors don't offer us any better "luck" in life, we are often compelled to continue them. Call it a prayer or a wish, magic or god; belief in the super-natural is persistent across all of human existence, despite much evidence to the contrary.

So, despite my atheist convictions, I still cross my fingers and put on my jersey when I go to a game, with hopes that perhaps this time my luck will change.

The Super Bowl is coming up, but did you jinx your team?

I had an ex-boyfriend who decided that I wasn't allowed to attend the local Pro-Hockey games any more. Every time I went, they lost. He was dead serious about this too. Needless to say, we had other issues and the relationship didn't last. Since then I have been to several more Hockey games, Hockey being my favorite sport, and I can't recall the home team winning once when I've gone. So there's a teeny-bit of me that does wonder, is it me?

There's a NY Times article on such superstitions, who has them, when we acquire them, and how they can be good for us.

I think an aspect that this article ignores is inconsistent reward. Superstitions can arise even when they aren't consistently rewarded. B.F. Skinner famously studied this, and has been studied since, revealing that, while consistent reward yields more consistent behavior, superstitions persist when reward is inconsistent. Gambling is often used as an example of this phenomenon in humans, many have ritual numbers, seats, trinkets, or motions while gambling.

I have no doubt that prayer works the same way. Many people are convinced it works based on their preference for memories of times when prayer worked. While most of us know our ritualized behaviors don't offer us any better "luck" in life, we are often compelled to continue them. Call it a prayer or a wish, magic or god; belief in the super-natural is persistent across all of human existence, despite much evidence to the contrary.

So, despite my atheist convictions, I still cross my fingers and put on my jersey when I go to a game, with hopes that perhaps this time my luck will change.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

One well-written essay...

Please check out this link to an essay about "what I want for christmas" written by the child of an atheist mother, and read through the comments. Possum Momma also has responded with more posts on the topic.

After reading this, I wish to one day be a mother like her. Possum #1 is both eloquent and empathetic. She is not a sheep, and we need more people who think for themselves in this world, despite the possible consequences. She took a stand.

For the teacher to say that atheists are incapable of having feelings for others, after her daughter clearly stated in her essay that her mother is atheist, is deplorable! Her teacher essentially told Possum #1 that her mother doesn't care about her! The way I see it, it's often that atheists are more caring for their fellow man, because we know god isn't going to take care of us; we have to take care of eachother. Atheist may be synonymous with godless, not ruthless.

I can't believe the response from the religious people who wish to pray for her and her children because they don't have god in their lives. This woman has raised a child who very eloquently expresses empathy for her classmates, thinking more about others than what material objects she might receive over the holidays. This is actually the most christian of actions, yet the christians feel that her children will still burn in hell without god.

I don't think I'll ever understand the concept of belief over action. I think that's the main thing that turns me off about faith. I have no doubt that the commenter's who express their prayers for her family really do fear that she is condemning them to eternal fire, their fear is apparent in their words. To them, it isn't about who you are or what you do in life, it's about what you believe above all. I never understood this. These types of people are more afraid of hellfire than anything in this world, and they fear reason because it could lead them to doubt, and therefore to that hellfire. I really do think this is evidence of brainwashing.

So they seriously believe that all the people in this world who aren't christian, the billions in China or India who have never even had the opportunity of hearing the name of Jesus Christ, who live good lives despite that, will burn in eternal hellfire as god rejects them from his kingdom? How does this make any sense? This though is why they go out as missionaries to bring salvation. They truly believe that their god will send people to hell if these people aren't introduced to Christ. What kind of loving god is that?

Monday, January 22, 2007

Getting into Heaven....

I flip the radio stations frequently, and my one radio is analog, so flipping the radio stations means finding that sweet-spot on the dial. Unfortunately one of my preferred stations is right next to a religious station, and I get sucked into listening every now and then out of sheer fascination.

This morning, I heard a pastor explaining that science doesn't know what it's talking about. He said; if you ask what holds particles together, science can't really tell you. He said; scientists use words that go above your head, so they seem to sound like they know what they're talking about, but there are things they just can't explain. (Like they can't explain exactly what animal instinct is, he says.) He said; but the bible can explain it.

He was making some correlation between the book of revelations in the bible saying that the universe will be destroyed by fire and re-built by god, and that breaking atomic bonds (he actually said particle bonds once, and protein bonds once, but I'm pretty sure he was talking about atomic bonds) by fission causes "huge explosions."

I couldn't listen to much more considering how many wrong things I heard in all of 30 seconds.

*sigh* I'm no expert in nuclear physics, so I can't really get into explaining the forces at work within atoms, or how fission works, or even animal instincts, you can read up on that if you so choose. But obviously, there are explanations for these phenomenon.

I try my damnedest to be sure that I get the facts straight when I'm arguing for or against something, and I know I make mistakes, but I do try to do a bit of research, I try to quote the bible correctly, and I really wish that them preachers would quote science correctly. I wish preachers would have the same consideration or they should just avoid talking about things they know nothing about instead of just lying.

To them I say:

1) Just because science can't totally explain it doesn't mean god did it.
2) Just because you can't understand it, even if science can explain, it doesn't mean god did it.
3) Just because you ignore the science doesn't mean god did it.
4) You can't retro-actively attribute the bible to "knowing" things about science after science discovers it. You haven't predict shit from the bible, (yea, I'm talking to you with the "the end is near" poster) and until you do, I'll just act like that the earth will last forever and acknowledge we should take care of it as-such.
5) You can't pro-actively induce biblical predictions and call it god's will.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Atheist Ethicist: The Source of Hatred

Atheist Ethicist: The Source of Hatred

I have often asked the question how christians can get away with ignoring most of Jewish law and still consider themselves followers of the same god. They do not protest prostitutes, they do not protest war (even thou god said thou shall not kill), and, like the Atheist Ethicist says, they do not protest people who work on Sundays. Yet they perpetuate hatred towards gays.

I think this article will help one understand their point of view, and where in the bible it says it's ok to ignore the Jewish dietary laws and some other laws god put down on the old testament:

and also:

"In Leviticus 18:22, God clearly commands, "Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; that is detestable." Pro-homosexual scholars argue that Christians are no longer under the Mosaic law. But we must carefully distinguish the dietary or ceremonial laws (abolished in the New Testament - Mark 7:19; Heb. 10:8-10) from the moral laws (reinforced in the New Testament and still applicable today --Mark 7:20-23; Matt. 5:27, 28)."

I'm not saying I agree with any of that, it's just that we need to understand what they are basing their claim that god and the bible says homosexuality is a no-no.

So, many christians interpret the new covenant Jesus made to have done away with the old dietary laws, but not having done away with homosexuality being bad.

I really find Mark 7 quite the ironic choice to quote. Jesus is condemning those who have "let go of the commands of God and are holding on to the traditions of men." Isn't bashing homosexuality a tradition of man?

I also find it ironic that christians continue to call the bible perfect and infallible and god never contradicts himself, but here it is clear that their god takes back what he said earlier!

But, back to what Atheist Ethicist says. I agree, hatred of gays is learned.

But he still hasn't answered the question "why?" Yes, it is a taught hatred, but why does it prevail? Hate often stems from fear. This is the real question we need to tackle: what is it about homosexuals that these christians are afraid of?

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Why Your Perfect Little Angel Should Still be Required to Get Vaccinated Against HPV

I saw this coming a mile away.

There is now a vaccine against 2 of the viruses that contribute to the STD HPV, which is a major factor in cervical cancer. But parents are objecting to action by a few states to make the vaccine mandatory. Despite that there are measures in place to allow parents to deny vaccinating their children for religious or health reasons.

Obviously it's mostly Christian parents objecting. Why should their chaste little angels, who would never have sex before marriage, get vaccinated?

Well, let me give you a few good reasons.

First, the most realistic reason: nobody's kids are perfect. Only 5% of people in the U.S. are virgins on their wedding day, and by the age of 44 99% of Americans have had sex. Most likely, your little girl will have sex before she's married, no matter how good of a parent you think you are.

Second, the scary reason: Your child could be raped. This happened to a friend of mine, and not only does she live with the burden of the memory of the assault, but she now lives in fear of cancer since she caught HPV from her attacker.

Third, them damn boys: If your little girl does happen to make it to her wedding day as pure as newly fallen snow, what about her husband? Are you telling your sons to keep their dick in their pants as well? Because that's the other half of how HPV is transmitted.

For this third reason, I think if states are going to make the vaccine a requirement for teenage girls, they need to make it a requirement for boys as well. Males aren't as likely to get cancer from HPV, but they are carriers and HPV can be transmitted by males even without viable outward signs.

So, all in all, this is yet another reason religion is so scary and dangerous to society. People think their families are immune to the harms of the world because they are religious. They are in denial if they truly believe that little girls who make a promise to Jesus first surely will keep it. Abstinence only right? Hiding from the truth, that kids are having sex, just means that their children know less about their own bodies, less about how to make a good decision when to have sex, less about how to protect themselves from disease and pregnancy when they do choose to have sex, less about what to do if they do have a sexual problem, and scared to ask!

I imagine there would there be the same objections to an HIV vaccine if it were developed. I smirk a bit though to think that I can see a future where STD's are only acquired by "good and moral" religious folk who never got vaccinated.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Death and ethics.

I came across this video on google today, and for the squeamish (or dog-lovers) it might be a tad disturbing.

Experiments in the Revival of Organisms

There is debate about if it is real footage. (If you haven't the stomach for it, they first show dog organs living outside of the body, then a dog head alive without a body, and finally, a dog that they drain all the blood out of, and then revive after 10min.)

Even if it's not totally true, watching it makes me asked myself two questions:

1) When does death occur?
2) Are experiments like this ethical?

Death seems so final to us at first glance, but with modern medicine we can not only keep death at bay longer and extend our lives, but we can revive those who have lost all signs of life. Death is at the core of religious faith, as most religions are concerned with what happens to the soul after death based on actions in life.

Only 100 years ago, and in many parts of the world still, death is called when breathing and heartbeat stops. But we know this doesn't have to be final, many people have been "brought back to life." So death has been re-defined in this day/age to mean cessation of brain-activity. These videos are from the 1940's, and with today's technology and knowledge a similar procedure is done on humans for up to an hour of near-frozen lifelessness during surgeries.

Are they dead? I haven't heard any personal stories of people who have been through this procedure, and I think it would be interesting if they experienced anything at all. If there was a soul, what is keeping it inside the body during this procedure?

This also has implications for how one experiences death. If the brain can stay alive for even a few minutes after the body has ceased to function, how much of death does one experience? Without blood flow to the brain, one quickly passes out, and this can induce out-of-body-experiences, but how long does that take? In cases of actual death, we will not be getting information from anyone who's experienced it.

The question about weather or not experiments like these are ethical is just as complicated. Are the dogs in pain? (Probably a bit.) Is killing animals for the betterment of human lives ok? I mean, we kill animals to eat all the time, or does it depend on the animal? And then, is it ethical based on what these experiments imply for the future of human society? Is it really ethical to just keep someone alive simply because it's possible? How much interference with the "natural process" is ok? In a day and age where I can easily take a vaccine for a virus that would have killed a person of 100 years ago, can we really draw a line?

Further experiments I've found, which involved grafting puppy heads onto full-grown dogs, don't seem as ethical to me. These dogs did not survive long after such procedures.

The line I think I would draw is at pain; if these experiments can be conducted while keeping pain to a minimum for the animal (but how could we tell?), and there is a greater purpose to the experiments, I could consider them ethical. It would personally cause me mental anguish to preform such an experiment, but I can understand that there are people out there who don't feel such a way.

If the product of the research will lesson the pain of humans, are our lives more important? Is there a line between keeping a paraplegic alive vs. keeping just someone's head alive in a jar?

I kind of just hope I don't ever have to actually answer most of these questions.

(For a little more history/information, this is a good article as well.)


Nothing beats a good illustration of the point. Both of these I came across within the past week.

I'm not sure where the Intelligent Design Zoo image originated, but it's an instant classic:

The second illustration I had to share was this past weekend's Doonesbury:


Friday, January 12, 2007

America, molded by god

I was reading the article Through A Glass, Darkley, by Jeff Sharlet at Harpers. It's throughly disturbing what's he's witnessed as the "Christian Soldiers" are prepared for war. Fundamentalist christians are isolating their children, teaching them their own version of history with god at the center, just like they're teaching the "science" of god. (Not that I fully believe that public schools teach an unbiased view of history, but teaching children that the history of America is the way god wanted things to go just makes me want to vomit.) In their minds, god is molding the American way of life, and they are called to keep it in line with (what they see as) god's will.

He refers to a christian site that provides literature and toys for followers and those who home-school their children. At first, it seems to promote a wholesome view of the family. But it doesn't take much flipping through the site to see there is a fascination with keeping their daughters holy and training their sons for war. Why is there such fear? And such a call to arms? I don't think I will ever understand how war and the commandment "thou shall not kill" are compatible in anyone's mind.

These people are "doing gods bidding" and have removed themselves from themselves. They free themselves from all responsibility in life; what good they do is god's good, what evil they do is the devil. It reminds me of the Milgram Experiments. And apparently, 40-some years later we still haven't learned anything, people are still willing to do evil things to eachother under the guise of "he told me to do it." Fundamentalists are the ultimate in followers it seems to me. They may say they are leading others on a path to god, but it is a very well beaten path at this point in human history, and it's not a hard path to find.

How many of us in this day and age are willing to stand up and take responsibility for ourselves? For our own actions? This is what I think I find the most troubling about the religious way of life, and why I reject it so harshly. I wish to retain the ability to say "this is wrong" without having to look to a superior or to a book for the answer. I wish that all people could think for themselves, and about the others around them.

As far as I see, christian fundamentalists who home school their children, in the isolation of their children from those who don't agree with them or who might introduce them to other ideas, are perpetuating a lack of empathy for the world around them, and a selfishness that only their point of view should be portrayed in the world.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Blogging the Bible

What happens when an ignoramus reads the Good Book?

David Plotz is a Jew who has gone back to the Bible, reading it and commenting as he goes. It's an interesting commentary, and you can follow along.

Isn't that the point of An Inconvenient Truth?

I really need to watch An Inconvenient Truth, but I'm pretty sure I know most of what the movie gets at.

Some (christian) parents in Washington State are objecting to the movie An Inconvenient Truth being shown to their children in school. Apparently the movie presents Scientific Facts instead of what the Bible teaches about the earth *shudder.* Apparently the school board agrees that a credible opposing viewpoint must be presented. Is a young-earth-creationist's point of view that the bible is the truth credible? It definitely can't be presented in school. The only way to dispute facts is with lies... lies are never credible. I'm kind of tired of hearing this "Students should make their own decision" BS. That means presenting them with every crack-pot theory out there!

And other parents object to the movie on grounds that it's presenting the viewpoint that American's are "bad."

"From what I've seen (of the movie) and what my husband has expressed to me, if (the movie) is going to take the approach of 'bad America, bad America,' I don't think it should be shown at all," Gayle Hardison said. "If you're going to come in and just say America is creating the rotten ruin of the world, I don't think the video should be shown."

Oh for the love of gawd! I'm sure this woman has one spoiled little brat of a child, because this leads me to believe she doesn't want her child to ever feel he/she has done something wrong! This is not how to raise children. As children we all have to learn how to deal with being at fault and loosing the game, because if children don't learn these things, they find blame and loss hard to deal with as adults! You wind up with adults who don't apologize and get lawsuit-happy because it's not their fault they tripped on the sidewalk in their 6" heels.

I think that's why it's no longer called "Global Warming," it's called "climate change." (I won't get started on the games politicians and the media play with semantics right now...) People (Americans) don't want to feel like it's their fault or that they should make sacrifices. But isn't that the point of "An Inconvenient Truth?"

I remember as a child watching NOVA and hearing that, if trends continued, the planet would be significantly warmer by 2050. That perhaps much of California and the East-Coast would be under-water. I grew up with Global Warming looming overhead. I'm sorry that I can't say that I've done much personally to prevent it, but it seemed like such a world-wide problem, my efforts would just be like a drop in the ocean... I should remember that every drop in the bucket counts.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Yoga is just an opening for the Devil....

Apparently, some christian people would rather have fat kids than have them exposed to such evils as Yoga.

I've done my share of Yoga, and I don't get anything religious about it. But lets examine it a little further.

Yoga originates in Hindu philosophy. Most westerners think of Yoga as some stretching and breathing techniques. It depends a bit on your yoga-teacher how spiritual of an experience they choose to make it. Actually, I have had to choose my yoga classes carefully, because certain nights of the week they have Christian Yoga! Is that an oxymoron perhaps? (Apparently some Christians think so, and have developed their own alternative to Yoga.)

In the end, I'd actually say that it'd probably be better to avoid Yoga in school. While the Yoga we know is far removed from it's religion, just like Santa Clause and the Easter Bunny, and I don't really think that Yoga could convert anyone to another religion (if it does, you weren't that set in your religion to begin with), I wouldn't want it to get turned on it's head and have Dianetics taught in school. In any event, exercise should be taught by professionals for safety. Perhaps stretching, breathing, and exercise can all be pulled out of Yoga and presented in a way that wouldn't be called Yoga and doesn't involve finding you're center.

In addition to that, I don't think that many of those positions would be appropriate for a class of kids hitting puberty. I remember giggling my way through health, and biology, I'm just imagining, if I had yoga in school, being stuck on a mat behind the flatulent kid while attempting downward-kneeling-dog, or worse, being stuck in front of the nerdy kid with a crush on me who's now getting a great view.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

The Free Thinking Organization

There's part of me that wants to start an atheist-organization that could replace religion in this world. I do understand that for the most part, atheism has a lot to do with free-thinking... and free thinking and organization aren't the most compatible concepts... but I could call it The Free Thinking Organization!

FTO wouldn't be a religion or cult, just a better way of (controlling people's) thinking!

I would make an excellent leader of the FTO because, being a free-thinker myself, I could best direct people's thoughts towards free-thinking! I wouldn't do it because I wanted people's money, or their allegiance, I'd do it for the better good of the world. I could get everyone to think the same free-thoughts.

Wouldn't you want to belong?

Monday, January 08, 2007

Carl Sagan Explains Natural Selection

I'm still not totally getting how to post google videos, their system for posting go blogger doesn't seem to work well for me.

Anyhow, here's a good bit by Carl Sagan on natural selection.

And a good cartoon;

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Play God

Way back when, I had this game called Sim-Life. I loved it. I could sit for hours and play with the little creatures. I had wondered why maxis hadn't yet updated it, considering that they'd updated sim-city, sim-coaster, the sims, etc.

But apparently, they've just been biding their time...

I now await Spore.

I've always loved the idea that one gets to play at evolution. Even the game Sim-life makes it a little easier to understand how evolution happens and how habitats work. It's a bit rudimentary now, but back on windows 3.1, I thought it was the greatest thing since Intellivision.

It makes me think; if I were god, I could make organisms any way I wanted! They wouldn't be limited in their design by what they evolved from. Mammals with 6 legs, cold-blooded-birds, purple people, purple people eaters, etc... but our world isn't like that. Fortunately, we have computers!

Here's the 35 min presentation on Spore, and here's to hoping that it will be released this year.
Until then, I'll just keep watching & waiting.

Faith in Mankind

I believe in the power of the individual. You get people in groups, and ideas can get muddled, people make decisions based on how others will see them instead of how they really feel, and might doesn't always make right.

But one man can make a difference, and history is full of individuals who stand out from the crowd.

I still have faith in mankind, and for any person who thinks that faith in mankind is misplaced, I give you this story from NYC: A Man Down, a Train Arriving, and a Stranger Makes a Choice.

It's just inspiring. One man made a choice, probably without time to think or pray about it. Some people are calling him an "angel," but any one could have done what he did. The only question is; how many of us actually would?

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Atheism is getting more attention

Atheism is getting more attention in the news, as this article examines. Is the challenge of atheism a good thing for religion? Could it make the religious think a little harder about what they believe and why?

The theological question that needs to be explored in both church and state is this: Can God be understood in some way other than through these infantile and tribal images? Can Jesus be seen in some way other than as the divinely appointed sacrificial victim who paid the price owed to God for our sinfulness?

Another place atheists are getting more attention is on Youtube. Since came around, more people are denying the holy spirit in exchange for a copy of The God Who Wasn't There. I already have my copy of the movie, but I'm not sure if I would be willing to sell my soul for a DVD... (Perhaps for some Alf Pogs thou...)

I'm still contemplating if we really do have a soul at all, thou I'm pretty sure if we do, saying "I deny the holy ghost" isn't going to have any bearing on what happens to it when I die. I'm pretty sure my actions in life will always speak loudest and to truly deny the idea of the holy spirit, one would have to commit some atrocious actions in life, things which I wouldn't be comfortable with. Even as I deny the idea of god, and I have no fear of spending my after-life in flames since I don't believe in hell, I get the feeling that denying the "holy spirit" is more like denying that idea of spirit in each of us, and I'm not ready to do that; I still have faith in mankind.

Here's to hoping the popularity of atheism isn't a passing fad.

Old Rocks

Religion teaches it's followers not to trust everything they see; god or the devil could have lied to you to test your faith. So they believe that rocks on earth aren't really millions of years old, because the bible says differently. There is a bigger lesson there for us all to learn.

Honesty is difficult. It requires heroic efforts of introspection and self-awareness. This honest portrayal of reality is at the heart of the conflict between science and religion. While science is a natural response to reality, religion demands that we distrust our senses and our intellect, instead relying on a supernatural explanation. In this way, faith robs us of the best tool we have for learning about our world and understanding our true position within it. Religions, especially fundamentalist religions, get stuck because they are based on an immovable, unchangeable, unquestionable authority. But without doubt and questioning, there is no way to acknowledge, much less correct for errors. That is how a 6,000 year-old rock becomes dangerous.